Agricultural machinery maker, AGCO, has broken ground on a parts distribution centre at Pomona near Johannesburg, South Africa, which it will run with distribution partner Barloworld. The centre expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The PDC will hold 40,000 parts and will be situated near the O.R. Tambo International Airport, giving it good transport links and improving order response times for the company’s African customers.

The building of the new facility is part of planned investment by AGCO of up to $20m in its South Africa aftersales service infrastructure over the next 10 years according to Anja Groebner, project consultant, Parts EAME for AGCO International, and is seen as the first step in improving the company’s aftersales infrastructure for the wider African markets.

“Investing in AGCO’s aftersales service infrastructure in Africa allows us to be closer to the market and provide better service levels to our local distribution partners and customers,” added Hubertus Mühlhäuser, senior vice president and general manager, Europe, Africa & Middle East.

He went on to say that Africa has significant potential for growth in the agricultural sector, accounting for 11% of the world’s arable land, much of which is uncultivated.

In addition to supporting AGCO’s distributors in Southern Africa, AGCO Parts shipments to Barloworld’s dealer network will also be prepared from the new AGCO warehouse.

“Whereas AGCO will invest in the infrastructure, Barloworld will continue to act as strong partner by focussing on market development activities and dealer relationship developments,” Groebner told Automotive Logistics News.

The company is also currently in the tender process for outbound deliveries to distribution partners in Sub-Saharan Africa with further announcements expected.

Barloworld has just announced a 70% rise in headline earnings for the six months ending in March, with the improvement mainly driven by increased activity in mining equipment in southern Africa and automotive in Russia. Operating profit in equipment in southern Africa improved 44% by R211m ($25.6) and in Russia improved 85% by R66m ($8m). The combined Automotive and Logistics division showed profits of R531m ($64.5m).

Pictured at the ground breaking ceremony at Pomona are (from left to right): Boris Schoepplein, vice president Parts Europe, Africa & Middle East (AGCO); Godfried Heydenrych, director Barloworld Handling (Barloworld); Nuradin Osman, special assistant to the chairman and director operations Africa & Middle East (AGCO); Charles van Niekerk, general manager MF and Challenger (Barloworld).